Introduced with the Horatio Alger story of Benjamin Fairless, Chairman and CEO U.S. Steel, we hear about the steel mill which bears his name.
Building a steel mill from scratch. Film takes us through the process of engineering, design, site selection, groundbreaking ceremony; massive construction and the christening of the first furnace.
Fairless Works, mill located in Morrisville [Bucks County] in Pennsylvania on the Delaware River, "largest fully integrated steel mill built at one time." Pictured also are sign, aerials and longshots of Levittown / Fairless Hills, [four thousand homes] a residential community, designed by one of the nation's leading authorities on urban planning.
Being a good neighbor:
Importance of the mill's relationship with the surrounding community is stressed, cooperation and discussions with planning commissions, school boards, hospital committees etc.
There is an attempt to allay concerns about water treatment and air treatment at the plant.
Great shots: Hazel Fairless christens the first furnace, named after herself, with a bottle of champagne. Nancy, the eldest Fairless grandchild, was chosen to light up the furnace named after her. Mr. Fairless explains that blast furnaces are named after women because they are "inclined at best to be somewhat tempermental." The first pour of steel into the open hearth furnace. On December 11, 1952 (less than two years after ground was first broken) steelmaking began.
Stock shots: Artist's conception of how finished mill will look; steel mill; architect/engineer at drafting table. highway; groundbreaking ceremony; heavy earthmoving equipment; bulldozers; cranes; pile driver; concrete pouring; building furnaces; driving rivets; steel girders; welding; water treatment plant; high tension power lines; blueprints; many aerial shots of plants; school bus; family; residential development; bus tours of plant; job interviews;
Voiceovers: "It takes water to run a steel mill. Enough water is used in this mill to supply a city of one million, three hundred and seventy-five thousand people. It is cleaned as it comes from the Delaware River and purified again before it is returned. "
"Enough power is used here to supply a city of 450,000 people."
"The most modern smoke and gas cleaning equipment available had been installed on the open hearth furnaces to help keep the atmosphere clear for our neighbors."
"It took 10,000 men to build this steel mill. (on site)" Additionally, the narrator says that 3 million men and 100,000 companies were employed in some way in the building of the mill.
"This was land that once raised broccoli and spinach, but 20 months after ground was broken, a steel mill was rising."
Outside of steel plant. George Hicks in office takes off coat and talks to camera. "What does it take to build a steel mill?"
Man points to diagram on wall and talks to camera, smiling.
Aerial picture of industrial landscape. Arrows appear to indicate different points on picture
3 executives around desk. Man at drawing boards examine blueprints. Draftsmen at work.
Audience of middle-aged men at company conference.
Podium speaker addresses crowd and row of many microphones.
Man digs first spadeful of earth
Bulldozers in action. Earthmoving construction. Steam shovels.
Pile driver pounding and shooting steam. Good shot.
Hardhats directing operation of heavy machinery
VS steel plants being constructed
Railroad tracks being laid. Workers with hammers drive spikes.
Aerial of large newly-built suburban housing development. "Fairless Hills, Pennsylvania" VS suburbs.
VS spectators address community groups.
People boarding charter bus
Meetings of various sizes
People being interviewed for jobs
Giant crane inside steel mill
VS exteriors of steel mill.
Mrs. Benjamin S. Fairless christens the #2 blast furnace as "The Hazel Furnace"
Nancy Fairless lights her furnace
Mrs. Fairless gives speech at podium.
worth noting: some short but nice excavation shots.
¥ 11:23:00- 11:38:19
Stark black and white aerial pan across sprawling steel mill (in Pennsylvania, "Fairless Hills") which dissolves to aerial view of dozens of white, A-frame houses (Levittown, Pennsylvania) built near the mill.
¥ 15:56:10- 16:08:05
Nice aerial shot of large, dreary Pennsylvania steel mill (factories, smoke, a river).
¥ 24: 46:09- 25:06:12
Excellent semicircle pan of steel mill (smoke stacks, steel, factories, water, etc...).
Subject: Glory days long gone
There's a notable quote from the very end, where we're told that "This is a plant that will go on for 50 or perhaps 100 years to come, pouring steel into the ribs of our nation, and wealth into its economic veins"
Sorry, Mr. Fairless, it didn't happen like that. Here's part of a (Philadelphia?) Inquirer article from August 15, 2001:
Once-booming steel plant is reduced to 100 workers
The Fairless Works steel factory that helped give birth to Levittown, Pa., and raised thousands of Bucks County families into a middle-class lifestyle is all but closing its doors.
USX Corp ... said yesterday that it would
permanently lay off 600 of the last 700 workers at the plant by November. ...
Fairless Works opened in the early 1950s in Falls Township, and employed 8,000 people in its heyday in the mid-1970s. To many, it symbolized the Philadelphia region's economic might after World War II.
But the factory apparently will not survive in any substantial fashion the nation's unflinching economic slowdown and the flood of low-cost steel imports from the former Soviet Union and Asia.
Subject: Hazel, start up your furnace!
This type of film just invites research. The Fairless plant is still there, along with the accompanying neighborhood, Fairless Hills. Reccomended! (the film, not the town lol)